This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! —Psalm 34:6-8
King David is the “poor man” who cried out to the Lord in this psalm. Saul wanted to kill David because the Lord had rejected him as king of Israel and put His hand of favor on David. Saul’s anger and jealousy overtook him, and in 1 Samuel 18:11, Saul made the first of many attempts on David’s life by trying to pin David to the wall with his spear. And, if the Saul’s murderous attempts were not trouble enough for David, while fleeing from Saul he was in danger of falling into the hands of the Achish, the king of Gath (1 Samuel 21:10-15). This is the backdrop of Psalm 34…David was a man with many troubles.
Although our troubles are different from David’s, don’t we want the outcome of verse 6? To be delivered from all our troubles? A quick tally of some of my own troubles and of those who are close to me includes: emergency life-threatening surgery, learning disorders, addictions, divorce, a paralyzing stroke, abuse, marital problems, legal trouble, children with physical disabilities, cancer, mental health issues, and the list could go on. And it does not escape me that some of you reading this post would gladly trade your list for mine. Our troubles can be extremely painful and difficult, and words are insufficient to communicate the depth of our pain.
Clearly we have, and we will continue to have, troubles. Our life’s experience tells us so. Psalm 34:19 states, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous…” Jesus said the same thing when He said, “In the world you will have tribulation…” (John 16:33b).
But David was aware that his biggest “trouble” was not Saul, Achish, or any of the circumstances of his life. David’s biggest trouble was, “The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth” (Psalm 34:16). That trouble is, by far, our biggest trouble, too.
This is a trouble we cannot overcome…but our Deliverer can. He tells us to “take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33c). When the Lord, by His good will, transfers us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His Son (Colossians 1:13), He removes our biggest trouble…forever! Psalm 34:22 says “none of those [his servants] who take refuge in him will be condemned.” This alone should cause an ocean of gratitude to the Lord, so that “…his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
With our biggest trouble accounted for by trusting in Jesus’ work on the cross, we have in Psalm 34:6-8 a wonderful example of how to live our lives in the midst of daily troubles.
David recognized his spiritual poverty—David was not poor monetarily. He had been in the king’s service, enjoying all the physical benefits of that position. He was not lacking in material comforts. Rather, David was poor in spirit. David humbled himself, saw himself as poor, and confessed his sin and weakness, even though he had earthly reasons to be proud.
David’s cry was to the Lord—David did not trust in his own strength, nor the strength of the mighty men around him. David knew that it was the Lord alone who was his deliverer. Even as a young shepherd, he recognized that it was the Lord who delivered him from the paw of the lion and bear (1 Samuel 17:37). And when David had the opportunity to kill Saul (and was urged to do so by his men), he did not harm his pursuer. Rather, he left his own deliverance fully in the hands of the Lord. David knew that “the angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).
David takes refuge in the Lord—David was far from perfect. He didn’t perfectly “taste and see” the goodness of the Lord in every moment. His sins of adultery and murder were grievous. Numbering his army, even when Joab warned him not to sin again against the Lord, was grievous. David and all Israel reaped significant consequences for these sins. Yet, what was his response before the Lord? He humbled himself, cried out to the Lord, and took refuge in His deliverer.
Dear friends, David is a wonderful example to us who aren’t perfect, and who have many troubles in this life. Let’s embrace David’s example and humble ourselves, cry out to the Lord, and take refuge in him.
Oh taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8)!
In what ways are you relying on your strength (or the strength of others) to overcome your troubles?
If you haven’t humbled yourself, what would it look like to do so before the Lord?
How might you be used by the Lord to help others in their troubles?
Practically speaking, what does it mean to “taste and see that the LORD is good”?